A Primer for 2001 A Space Odyssey

Sun, 2 Mar 1997 22:25:45 -0500 (EST)

This is HAL's birthday. HAL of 2001 fame. The University of Illinois, where
Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke declared him born, is celebrating with a
CyberFest colloquium on artificial intelligence, the future of computing, and
much more. Info at www.cyberfest.uiuc.edu/aboutparent.html

The bookstore there is carrying our 1970 television production "A Primer for
2001" and now we get inquiries for details and ordering info. Here it is.
First: the front of wrapper.

It may be hard to comprehend now, after millions have recognized Stanley
Kubrick's work 2001: A Space Odyssey as one of the defining movies of our
generation, but there really was a time when many who saw the film said they
were sorry but they just didn't understand it! And it's hard to blame them
when many major film critics were dismissing the movie as obscure or
patronizing it as science fiction for kids.

This television documentary, made two years after the film premiered,
determined to counter all this with a clear explanation of the film's epic
perspective, its themes, how the plot unfolds, the monoliths, the music, the
scarcity of spoken dialogue, the "trip" , the "star child", the film's
literary sources in the works of Arthur C. Clarke, and many other topics.

The writer of this documentary had worked on the pioneering book "The Making
of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey" and he and the director had produced many
profiles of cinema luminaries. Keir Dullea agreed to be the narrator, and
MGM generously agreed to provide excerpts -- on condition that it be made
clear that no television transmission of the images could do justice to the
real film as seen in a theater -- a disclaimer we gladly repeat here out of
profound respect for the beauty of the original.

Back of wrapper.

The tone poem "Thus Spake Zarathustra" was composed by Richard Strauss in
1895 in homage to the contemporary essay by Friederich Nietzsche. "I mean to
convey," Strauss wrote, "an idea of the evolution of the human race from its
origin through its various phases of development, religious as well as
scientific, up to Nietzsche's idea of the

Starchild as superman? Surely not the victor in election or argument come to
reform enemies and claim the spoils of war... but the offspring of instructed
genetic progress whose way lies beyond the fears and scruples of his

The groundwork for this optimism that humbles daily goals is ourselves, one
generation hence, treated so matter of factly in the film that we forget that
2001: A Space Odyssey is mostly about our world. In that world we can only
live day by day. And on the same day we walk the moon we pay the rent. But
the longer perspective of epic fiction puts us in the myth. "An age may
come," wrote Arthur Clarke, "when Project Apollo is the only thing by which
most men remember the United States...or even the world of their ancestors,
the distant planet

$49.95 plus $5 UPS shipping. Check to Creative Arts Television, POB 739,
Kent, CT 06757. Shipped at once.

We also have a fascinating conversation between Clarke and film critic Joe
Gelmis on the early days of working on 2001, with lots of insight into the
making of. E-mail catarchive@aol.com and put CLARKE in the message field, or
if we get a lot of inquiries maybe we'll post it here.
Stephan Chodorov